Angelika Trojnarski's stunning compositions are approached from the same perspective as a scientist might approach an experiment. Awed by the wonders of nature and the cosmos, she studies natural phenomena and allows it to guide her practice.
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Can you tell me a bit about yourself? Where are you based in Germany?
I was born in Mragowo/Poland, and live and work in Düsseldorf.
You studied photography under Andreas Gursky, but now you've moved more into painting; what was that transition like?
This issue is irritating to most people. A painter and a photographer - how does it work?
But in reality and from the start our class at the art academy in Düsseldorf was not media specific. On the contrary - the class represented all kind of media and that made it so interesting and inspiring! Much more fun and challenging! Among others, during a colloquium we talked about unconventional materials for conventional questions, like using metallic surfaces for paintings or mirrors for photographs. So, indeed I was a painter but questioning painting in general. This situation led me to mix materials on canvas.
You equate artists to scientists and vice versa. Where does your interest in science stem from?
I grew up in Poland, in a small city surrounded by beautiful lakes, swampy land, and forests, where I've learnt to love and respect nature. Everyday was alive with adventure and discovery, even as a friend got stuck in a moor.
Because of that and lately as an artist, I long for profound processes and connections within nature. Not in biology, but rather in traditional physics like optics and gravity. My work explores the universally applicable laws of nature and elementary complexities.
I love to visit museums of natural science like in Berlin and Dallas. Munich’s “Deutsches Museum Masterpieces of Science and Technology,“ which is the world’s largest, is my absolute favorite! It hosts a huge collection of vintage experiments, which let you truly feel the history of big discoveries like a vacuum, light spectrum, electricity, or magnetism. You should definitely go there when you are around!
For me there are strong parallels between artists and scientists concerning passion and sensitivity or the intensity of observation. Artists and scientists notice slight shifts in the ambience, and describe them with their individual tongue: formulas or forms & colors. The world and its phenomena, seen scientifically or artistically, are closely interrelated.
Do you recall any particular discovery or moment of surprise during your work or studies that you felt changed the direction of your practice?
Sure, there have been these moments in my studio. For example, as I blew graphite powder or different pigments on wet oil color. This effect was very soft with a seamless transition, and I used it after that on a lot of my works. I would say these important moments happen very abruptly or suddenly, but they only can happen if an artist permanently questions her art and experiments with materials – like a scientist.
I devoured Nikola Tesla’s biography which led me to use copper and wood for installations.
At the same time I visited a wood dump and found the missing basic item to perfect my work ‚Wogender Bernstein / Cradled Amber’.
Did you ever shave and polish a coconut? This I did three times for my work ‚Trichterbindung’‚ where smoothed coconuts levitate from the ceiling kept in their place by a copper net.
Can you describe a bit about your process? How do you get started on a piece?
Two years ago I started to apply different chemicals to colored paper. They reacted with paper pigments, deleted or minimized them, and created a very fine color transition, in which the fading fringe mimicked a glow. Lines appeared to be drawn by light.
By reading a lot of science books and newsletters, my head is full of graphs, historical drawings showing original experiments, and current images of space taken by telescopes. My work transcends science into art and emphasizes the respective crossovers.
What do you consider to be the most challenging aspect of pursuing art as a career? Have you overcome any particularly tough obstacles?
The most challenging aspect is to transform my brainwork into solid works. Every minute, every day.
What do you feel like is the most rewarding or exciting aspect of doing what you do?
My ideas emerge from a deep feeling, an immanent interest and eagerness. After creating and finishing a relevant piece in my studio I am full of pleasure and joy. Art is my language.
For me it is important to communicate with recipients. I would like them to embrace our world, to be aware of nature's wonders and to be curious their whole life.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
In the last years I received a lot of advice from a lot of different people. And there was one wise man who said: listen to only a handful of them, to those whom are near to your work and your personality. Their counsel is the most helpful.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects?
In 2017 I will have three solo exhibitions, two in Düsseldorf and one at my gallery in Berlin.
It is quite early to talk about it, but if you follow me on Instagram, you can see more. And also via my blog about art and science: http://www.artscienceblog.com
Find more at trojnarski.com!
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